Review of The Horse and His Boy (Narnia Chronicles #3)

And we keep on reading, and we move to the third book of the series of the Narnia Chronicles. I am reading the books in the “reading order” and not “publication order” (if you want to know the difference between these two, please read the first entry about Narnia Chronicles here). I will just quickly mention my motivation to read this series, other than it is a classic of the fantastic literature: I saw a comment on twitter about the end of the Narnia series, saying that it was very bad. I like to have my own ideas of books, so I preferred to read them and draw my own conclusions. Having done that, let us talk about the book itself.

We are situated in the Narnia of the kings mentioned in the previous book, (Susan, Peter, blah, blah) after the story of the white witch and the eternal winter “without Christmas”. The difference is that the beginning of the story takes place in another geography, which has many similarities with an Arab country: the names of the characters, the type of culture, the descriptions of landscapes, etc. Maybe a little derogatory? Maybe. But, CS Lewis wrote this in the 1950s, putting it in the context of England at the time. Right or wrong, I leave it to the reader to judge. For that matter, this is all fiction and I imagine that the «reported events have no similarity to reality.»

This paragraph has existential questions that can suggest what the plot is about, if you do not want to know what the book is about, I recommend you continue reading the next paragraph. Having made the proper warnings, let’s talk about the book. First: After years without seeing Aslan, the kings don’t even say «Aslan dear, 20 years without seeing you, how have you been?» No, nothing. The kings say nothing to him. Second: the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve were always mentioned to humans in Narnia, but it turns out that there are many kingdoms in this parallel world of Narnia. Perhaps it is explained in later books, but apparently, there have been humans in all the surroundings of Narnia. What is the difference between the humans of our world and those of Narnia? Why are some sons of Adam, and the others… just humans, since they do not give them any particular name? It is not clear to me. Third: Aslan reminds me of Dumbledore on some occasions, since when he is in the middle of a scene, everything is possible, and, furthermore, he seems to be everywhere and know everything. If he is so almighty, why didn’t he save the boy to begin with? What do you think of these comments? Do you agree or disagree? Please let me know in the comments section.

As I have been doing in each of the other reviews, I have looked for the different translations of the titles, which is slowly becoming a hobby of mine, to be honest:

  • The Horse and His Boy – original in English
  • “El caballo y su niño”, “El caballo y el muchacho” o “El caballo y su jinete” – in Spanish there are three different versions, and they just use synonyms to say the same. The translation is correct.
  • “Der Ritt nach Narnia bzw. Der Ritt nach Narnia oder: Das Pferd und sein Junge“. In German, the translation means «The ride to Narnia, or the Horse and its boy». From those I have read so far, this one is the one closest to the real thing.  
  • “Le Cheval et son écuyer“– in French, the translation means “The horse and its squire”.
  • “O Cavalo e seu Menino” or “O Cavalo e o seu Rapaz” – there are two versions in Portuguese, one for Portugal and one for Brazil. Both mean the same, just using words more used in the different geographies. The translation means the same as in English.  
  • “馬と少年” – in Japanese, it means “Horse and child”, which I guess it’s a very Japanese title, simplistic, but really close to the original. 

Final comment: I liked the book, since it sounds like a fable (like most of the Narnia books, I agree with you), but it continues to create this feeling that something bigger is being built, that will happen in a future book. I’m still curious about how the story will end. There are still four more books to go!

Book quote: Do not by any means destroy yourself, for if you live you may yet have good fortune, but all the dead are dead alike.

Keep on reading,

GG Klimt

Questions to answer in the comments:
Have you read the series of Narnia? And what about “The Horse and his Boy”? Did you like it? Do you agree with my final comments? Have you read any similar books you would recommend, for someone who would like to read more of the same genre? Please answer all these questions in the comments!

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